EyeToy: Kinetic Combat

The next best thing to getting in a fight outside the pub

The problem with EyeToy games is that they're designed to appeal to everyone. As part of Sony's ongoing campaign to widen brand awareness, they're deliberately put together to be as broad, bland and unprovocative as possible, so that they're as equally easy to digest for your mum, your boss or for people who buy Davina McCall workout DVDs and don't know which way up to hold a DualShock. The problem with that, of course, is that means they aren't always much fun for you.

Case in point: the coaches in Kinetic Combat looked like they've come fresh from an ad for ladies' deodorant. They could've been gnarled, Rocky-style boxing coaches or bubblegum-cute Japanese space girls, but instead they're the sort of people who hang about in gyms looking so toned that you just want to heave your sweaty, biscuit-filled body behind the nearest fern and hide. They aren't that loveable, and when they told us that we'd be as slim and well-moisturised as them if we stuck with the programme for sixteen weeks, we almost put Tekken on instead.


Then there's Leon, the game's resident kung-fu master. He's there to teach you Hung Gar - the style in the game - and he's a bit more charming than the other two. He'll take you through the game's various options, and there are plenty of these -from typical smash-the-moving-objects stuff to actual sparring. Again, the blandness of Sony's marketisation strategy means you don't get to punch the heads off zombie ninjas - think 'flashing globes' and the occasional phoenix - but at least the games are challenging.

Built to use the wide-angle lens, EyeToy's movement-recognition is much improved, and the games are designed to minimise cheating. Dodging flying things is actually much harder than hitting them, and burning off a Jaffa Cake's worth of calories will leave you breathing like a sexy walrus. Leon will even teach you hand forms and chi gong breathing exercises and, while they're no substitute for going to a proper class, they're well-designed and reasonably good at telling you where you might probably be going wrong. It goes without saying, of course, that you shouldn't try any of this stuff in a fight - in terms of toughness, Hung Gar's about one step up from Tai Chi and two down from traditional Irish folk dance.

That said, if you do genuinely manage to run the gauntlet of flatmates/family/friends discovering you kicking the air in front of a TV for the recommended four months, you'll almost certainly be in the best shape of your life. And maybe you can be in a deodorant advert too.

The verdict

For this cash you could get a whole course of actual kickboxing lessons instead, but it's still fun.

  • Tests co-ordination
  • Tests stamina
  • Requires quick reactions
  • The world's campest kung-fu fighter
PlayStation 2